Topic: Groundwater

Overview

Groundwater

Unlike California’s majestic rivers and massive dams and conveyance systems, groundwater is out of sight and underground, though no less plentiful. The state’s enormous cache of underground water is a great natural resource and has contributed to the state becoming the nation’s top agricultural producer and leader in high-tech industries.

Groundwater is also increasingly relied upon by growing cities and thirsty farms, and it plays an important role in the future sustainability of California’s overall water supply. In an average year, roughly 40 percent of California’s water supply comes from groundwater.

A new era of groundwater management began in 2014 with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which requires local and regional agencies to develop and implement sustainable groundwater management plans with the state as the backstop.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

NASA wants to make contaminated Santa Susana site a landmark

In what some have described as a cynical attempt by a U.S. government agency to avoid a long-promised cleanup of toxic and radioactive contaminants, NASA has nominated the Santa Susana Field Laboratory for official listing as a traditional cultural property.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater in the Indian Wells Valley: Just what is in the IWV’s proposed replenishment fee?

The short answer is, the replenishment fee is a per-acre-foot extraction fee proposed by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority to pay for mitigation of registered shallow wells damaged by continuing overdraft, as well as to begin importing water necessary to balance the groundwater basin. A public hearing regarding the fee is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 21 at city hall.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Climate change report forecasts hard times for Kern ag

A new report warns Kern County agriculture will face tough challenges in the decades ahead as climate change makes irrigation water scarcer and weather conditions more variable and intense. The study concludes these hurdles “ultimately challenge the ability to maximize production while ensuring profitability.”

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Researchers propose climate-smart desert food production model for land and human health

Water-efficient succulents and nitrogen-fixing tree legumes may take five to 12 years to produce their first nutritional harvests. Nevertheless, they can produce more edible biomass over a decade with far less water than that used by conventional annual crops, while sequestering carbon into the soil to mitigate climate change…

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘This land is all we have left’: Tribes on edge over giant dam proposal near Grand Canyon

If built, it would … pump groundwater into four new reservoirs … Tribal members and environmentalists say the project would flood several miles of canyons sacred to the Navajo; risk damaging cultural sites for several tribes; draw vast amounts of critical groundwater; potentially harm habitats for plants and animals, including some endangered species; and risk adverse effects for waterways leading into the Grand Canyon.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Times

Sunburst Farm sues neighbor, cannabis company over access to water well

A Lompoc religious nonprofit is accusing a Wyoming-based organic farm and cannabis company of stealing water it uses to grow food and blocking access to a well on a neighboring parcel, despite a decades-old legal agreement allowing them to do so, according to a lawsuit filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Groundwater sustainability moves from planning to implementation

Completion of groundwater sustainability plans for California’s most over-pumped basins was a major step toward bringing basins into long-term balance, as mandated by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. We talked to Trevor Joseph—the first SGMA employee at the Department of Water Resources, and now a member of a groundwater sustainability agency in the Sacramento Valley—about next steps and possible pitfalls.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Sen. Hurtado hopes to freshen farmworkers’ water

Contaminated water has long plagued California’s Southern Central Valley, a region home to many farmworkers. SB 974, a bill by Senator Melissa Hurtado, seeks to provide safe drinking water by exempting small disadvantaged communities from certain CEQA provisions.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: SGMA and the human right to water: How do submitted groundwater sustainability plans address drinking water?

Although only five of 41 groundwater sustainability plans submitted to the Department of Water Resources for review in January mention the human right to water, and only one of those affirmed it as a consideration in their plan, these two policies are closely related.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Are you on a private well? We’re investigating risks to drinking water and need your help

Thousands of families who rent or own homes with private wells are at risk of losing their drinking water in Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties — and some already have. The Fresno Bee is investigating the risks to private wells and proposed solutions, and we need to hear your stories and your questions to guide our reporting.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

One step closer for $71 million for Friant-Kern Canal

Funding for much needed repairs at least in the short-term for the Friant-Kern Canal continues to move closer to becoming reality. The House of Representatives last week passed H.R. 7617… Included in that minibus is $71 million for repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal during the next fiscal year.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Lab

News release: Geothermal brines could propel California’s green economy

Deep beneath the surface of the Salton Sea, a shallow lake in California’s Imperial County, sits an immense reserve of critical metals that, if unlocked, could power the state’s green economy for years to come. These naturally occurring metals are dissolved in geothermal brine, a byproduct of geothermal energy production.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

Tired of wells that threaten residents’ health, small California town takes on the oil industry

In September 2018, Estela Escoto sat down with a team of lawyers and community organizers and weighed her options. Escoto’s town—Arvin, California—had just granted an oil drilling and well-servicing company, Petro-Lud, a permit to drill four new wells near a neighborhood densely packed with young families and a park where children played soccer.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno farming giant Jack Woolf, leader in transforming San Joaquin Valley, dies at 102

John Leroy Woolf Jr., a pioneering farmer who helped re-imagine the dry and dusty west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley into an agricultural oasis, died Tuesday. He was 102.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: When does a groundwater recharge project NOT need a water right?

Groundwater recharge projects already play an important role in California. That role is about to expand rapidly, as local groundwater managers begin to take more concrete actions to meet their responsibilities under California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Montecito groundwater basin levels still recovering from California drought

The district’s spring groundwater monitoring program, using 55 public and private wells, found that the levels rose 3-to-18 feet in each storage area of the basin since last year. That’s progress, but still far below historic wet weather levels, groundwater specialist Nick Kunstek said.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Audio: Planet Money: Scarce resources, drought and the tragedy of the commons in California

We travel to Porterville, California, where a drought has dried up residents’ wells. There’s water under their homes; they just can’t get to it.

Aquafornia news InterestingEngineering.com

How over-pumping of underground aquifers can cause land to sink

All the static and dynamic forces from the land and rock above start adding up and eventually that now-dry soil starts compacting down and down. While this may not seem like a big deal on a small scale, what we’ve seen in California (and other parts of the world too) is the dropping of the surface elevation over a period of years, often by hundreds of feet or meters.

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Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

News release: Bishop Paiute Tribe pumping water at reduced capacity; pump failure & high-demand

The Bishop Paiute Tribe is experiencing low water pressure reservation wide due to high water usage and minimal storage and pumping capacity. … With temperatures rising, and more community members staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, water usage has gone up significantly.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

What is Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority? An overview

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s notice of an upcoming public hearing on a basin replenishment fee has attracted a lot of attention from water users in the valley, but not everyone understands what the IWVGA is.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Newsom lays out big dreams for California’s water future

Gov. Gavin Newsom released strategies Tuesday to improve drinking water quality, revive a stalled multibillion-dollar tunnel and build new dams. Newsom says the sweeping water portfolio will help the Golden State prepare for global warming by reinforcing outdated water infrastructure and reducing the state’s reliance on groundwater during future droughts.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Water right permitting options for groundwater recharge: Avoiding unintended consequences

Recharge is playing a growing role in maintaining groundwater as an effective drought reserve and in slowing or reversing the effects of years of unsustainable groundwater pumping. But implementing recharge projects is not easy. Water managers face a range of hurdles.

Aquafornia news Gov. Newsom's Office

BREAKING NEWS: Gov. Newsom Releases Final Water Resilience Portfolio

NEWS RELEASE: Governor Gavin Newsom today released a final version of the Water Resilience Portfolio, the Administration’s blueprint for equipping California to cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, over-reliance on groundwater and other challenges.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Can a new plan for the wash that runs between Redlands and Highland protect flowers, animals and mining?

On July 13, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District a 30-year permit to manage plans for the Upper Santa Ana River Wash, the final step in the process. The plans cover an area of Redlands and Highland generally west and south of Greenspot Road, east of Alabama Street and north of the waterway’s bluffs.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Forging connections to provide safe drinking water

Providing a reliable source of drinking water is a challenge for many small water systems in the San Joaquin Valley, where dropping groundwater levels, aging systems, and water quality problems are acute. … We talked to Laura Ramos and Sarge Green of Fresno State’s California Water Institute about this effort.

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Feinstein bill would fix SJ Valley canals

Feinstein’s Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act would authorize $800 million in federal funding to repair critical canals in the San Joaquin Valley damaged by land sinking from overpumping of groundwater, known as subsidence, and for environmental restoration.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Colusa County landowners sought for groundwater recharge program

According to a release issued by the Nature Conservancy, the program provides an opportunity for growers to receive financial compensation for recharging groundwater during the course of normal farming operations on a variety of crops while also providing critical wetland habitat for waterbirds migrating along the Pacific Flyway.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Setting sustainable groundwater management criteria: It’s easy, isn’t it?

At the Groundwater Resources Association’s 3rd annual GSA Summit, a panel reviewed how the process went for the groundwater sustainability plans that were submitted to the Department of Water Resources earlier this year, focusing on four of the six sustainable management criteria: water levels, water quality, land subsidence, and interconnected surface waters.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Report says California groundwater sustainability plans are inadequate

The grim report by the Water Foundation, a charitable organization based in California that is focused on clean, reliable water for people and nature, predicts the groundwater sustainability plans written by the various districts in the San Joaquin Valley will not achieve what SGMA purports to do – that is, sustainably manage groundwater resources.

Editors Note: The Water Foundation is not affiliated with the Water Education Foundation.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Farmers doing more with less need help from above

Ceres Imaging, an Oakland-based startup company, is one of several high-tech aerial monitoring companies helping California farmers, including those in Kern County, increase their production, while decreasing their demand for water. It is a logical marriage between agriculture and innovators in California’s Silicon Valley.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves groundwater extraction fee hike

Local water users will pay higher groundwater extraction fees to close the gap between estimated and actual costs associated with the Groundwater Sustainability Plan required by California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The fee increase was approved on Thursday by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: New study finds media coverage could discourage many from guiding groundwater use

Media coverage portrayed stakeholders as limited to major economic interests, such as agriculture, the study found. And while SGMA legislation requires disadvantaged communities to be a stakeholder in all planning documents, such communities were largely absent from newspaper reports.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

Environmentalists fear oil company bankruptcy could strand SoCal’s idle wells

The owner of more than 2,000 idle oil wells in Southern California declared bankruptcy this week, raising fears among environmentalists that those wells might never be properly sealed. … As those old wells sit idle and unsealed, they present a potential pollution hazard to drinking water underground and people living nearby.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Santa Clara Valley Water News

Blog: Are there plans to fill more of Valley Water’s percolation ponds in Santa Clara County this summer?

As more people enjoy local trails this summer, they may notice many of Valley Water’s percolation ponds in Santa Clara County are empty and dry. There’s no reason to be alarmed. In fact, the absence of water in many of the 100 percolation ponds owned by Valley Water is a sign that our underground water basins are mostly full and healthy.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Landmark groundwater act enters a crucial period

Sustainability plans developed by groundwater sustainability agencies outline how water users can restore depleted water sources. But fights have arisen and disputes about the reliability of those water sources have come to light.

Aquafornia news 5280.com

How did Colorado’s drought get so bad so quick?

To live in Colorado is to know drought. Since 2000, there has been only one month-plus-long period (from late May to mid July of 2019) when no drought has been desiccating the earth here. Other than that, at least one part of the state has been in a perpetual state of crisp.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: The water is contaminated. But California bottled water program isn’t helping Earlimart

The cost of buying cases of bottled water for cooking and drinking is adding up for residents of Earlimart, where a contaminated well became the main source of tap water for more than 8,000 people there in late May. The State Water Resources Control Board that is responsible for drinking water has a program to provide financial assistance for bottled water to help communities in crisis. It has not been available in Earlimart — and it is unclear why.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Location, location, location: New tool shows where groundwater recharge will maximize benefits

With support from EDF, four UC Santa Barbara graduate students have developed a new mapping tool for California’s Central Valley to identify the best locations for groundwater recharge to secure these bonus benefits. The tool, called Recharge for Resilience, is available online and also can be downloaded by users with more technical expertise.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Opinion: When the ground sinks, arsenic levels in drinking water may rise

To begin, what is arsenic? It is one of the basic chemical elements found in the periodic table that shows its relationship to other elements. Arsenic is dissolved from rocks by water in areas that have groundwater pools. If you have significant levels of arsenic in your water, it can cause cancer, heart disease, diarrhea and affect your skin.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s pollution regulators go toe-to-toe with Trump. Watchdog says they come up short

A California environmental advocacy group urged the state’s air pollution regulator and agriculture department to do more for minority communities in an annual report card it published last week. That report card, compiled by the California Environmental Justice Alliance, issued environmental justice grades to eight agencies, with a statewide C average.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

What happens when a drinking water system fails? Ask Earlimart

Residents in Earlimart, California, lost water service when a 50-year-old well on Mary Ann Avenue failed in late May. When it came back on, the main source of drinking water for more than 8,000 residents became a well contaminated with a chemical from banned pesticides. And most residents didn’t know. The Tulare County town’s water system is failing, in a lot of ways.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

GSA Summit: Lessons learned from the 2020 Groundwater Sustainability Plans: Perspectives from critically overdrafted basins

At the Groundwater Resources Association Third Annual Groundwater Sustainability Agency Summit held online in June, a panel of managers from four of the critically overdrafted basins reflected on the hard work of developing and adopting a groundwater sustainability plan.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Proposed changes to Paso Robles Groundwater Basin boundaries draw anger and skepticism from landowners

After seven years of water restrictions over the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, San Luis Obispo County is redrawing the basin’s boundaries, which will subject hundreds of new property owners to a moratorium on irrigating and other rules.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Water resilience projects receive nearly $84 million from DWR

A total of $83.9 million grant funding has been issued to communities in San Diego, San Joaquin, Sacramento, Sierra and Central Coast regions. The funding is aimed at supporting projects to address infrastructure needs, depleted groundwater levels, flood control issues, and other water issues of critical importance.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

US children who drink water from private wells at higher risk of lead exposure

American children whose homes rely on private wells for drinking water are 25% more likely to have high lead levels in their blood than those with access to regulated community water services, according to new research.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Farmland values hinge on future water availability

Availability of water and the impact of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act continue to be a main focus when California agricultural appraisers determine land values, particularly in water-short regions.

Aquafornia news CapRadio

Sacramento region plans to store water underground as a climate change adaptation strategy

The Sacramento region is preparing for the long term impacts of the climate crisis when it comes to water supply. Central to the plan is a groundwater storage program with two to three times the space of Folsom Lake. 

Aquafornia news Business Wire

News Release: Kiewit-Stantec design-build team moving forward on critical LADWP groundwater projects

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is one step closer to remediating and restoring the beneficial use of the San Fernando Valley Groundwater Basin (SFB), providing a critical, local source of clean drinking water for the Los Angeles region. The Kiewit-Stantec design-build team recently completed its “basis of design report,” which outlines treatment technology that will be used to treat contaminated groundwater as well as provide the basis for the treatment facility layout at LADWP’s North Hollywood Central and Tujunga remediation sites.

Aquafornia news Kingman Daily Miner

Mohave County addresses dwindling water supply in Kingman

Kingman’s primary water supply could dry up in less than 100 years, and Mohave County officials are planning to work with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to preserve it for as long as possible. Mohave County Development Services Director Timothy Walsh hopes to work with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to install three recharge basins and associated facilities in the upper watershed of Rattlesnake Wash, in the Kingman area.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Should farmers meter their wells now for SGMA?

With the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act closing in on growers throughout California, there are many questions. One big one: should growers go ahead and put a meter on their pumps?

Aquafornia news GV Wire

Pandemic, water costs, consumer behavior lead to $2 billion in ag losses thus far

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on California agriculture was severe, unprecedented, and will continue to affect the industry in the coming months and years. That’s the sobering news from an economic study released last week by Davis-based ERA Economics. [The report also noted] Groundwater Sustainability Plan implementation started earlier this year for critically overdrafted groundwater sub-basins across the state and 2020 water supply deliveries for ag are reduced, resulting in higher water costs.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

River treatment plant for Turlock and Ceres gets final OK

A vote Monday was the final approval for a Tuolumne River treatment plant serving Turlock and Ceres. The $202 million project, discussed off and on since the 1980s, will reduce the cities’ dependence on groundwater. Both have already approved the sizable rate increases that will cover most of the cost.

Aquafornia news Water Finance and Management

Orange County awarded grant to increase drinking water supply

The Orange County Water District has been awarded a $3.6 million grant from the California Department of Water Resources Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) grant program for use toward the construction of its Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Final Expansion project. Operational since 2008, the GWRS is undergoing its second and final expansion.

Aquafornia news Chino Champion

Monte Vista Water District awarded $3.4 million grant

Monte Vista Water District was awarded a $3.4 million grant from the Department of Water Resources that will partially fund a treatment project necessary to meet stricter water quality regulations. The water district provides retail and wholesale water supply services to a population of about 140,000 in the communities of Montclair, Chino Hills and portions of Chino.

Aquafornia news MyValleyNews.com

Eastern Municipal Water District approves San Jacinto Basin groundwater monitoring equipment

The June 17 meeting of the Eastern Municipal Water District included approving the purchase of groundwater monitoring equipment for the West San Jacinto Basin, approving a consultant contract for the final design of the Hemet Water Filtration Plant sodium hypochlorite tank replacement, and awarding Pacific Hydrotech Corporation a contract to replace the booster engines at the Pat Road facility.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada mulls EPA reversal of Obama era drinking water rules

The Trump administration has decided a chemical with a notorious legacy in Nevada will not be regulated in drinking water, but state officials say the reversal of the Obama-era policy shouldn’t result in any decline in drinking water standards across the state.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Sentinel

Water Replenishment District receives grant to prevent groundwater contamination

The Water Replenishment District has received a $844,240 grant from the California State Water Resources Control Board to remove inactive water wells from production. This grant was made possible by California’s Proposition 1 which authorized $7.545 billion in funds for water supply infrastructure projects and was approved by voters in 2014.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Ken Manning, architect of groundwater cleanup in San Gabriel Valley, Chino Basin, retires

Mostly, the people didn’t know their groundwater was polluted.. And they didn’t know the contaminated portions shut down by federal authorities in many instances were finally being restored. Kenneth “Ken” Manning, 69, a fixture in ground-water restoration in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, a pioneer in water recycling and a master at public-private partnerships, knew. And on June 30, Manning will retire from his most recent job, as executive director of the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Lack of perchlorate standard paves way for Superfund slowdown

The EPA’s decision not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water will slow Superfund cleanups, especially in the majority of states that lack their own restrictions on the chemical, environmental attorneys said. The Environmental Protection Agency last week announced that it wouldn’t set an enforceable limit for perchlorate, a chemical commonly used in rocket fuel.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Groundwater 101: The basics

Groundwater provides nearly 40% of the water used by California’s farms and cities, and significantly more in dry years. But what is groundwater? In this post based on the first segment of the UC Davis shortcourse on groundwater, Dr. Thomas Harter provides a basic understanding of groundwater – what it is, how much groundwater is out there, how fast groundwater moves, and where it comes from and where it goes.

Aquafornia news Zocalo Public Square

Where Tulare Lake once was, a new telling of California’s history

All but one of these photographs of California by Jesse White come from California Exposures, a book that he and I, his father, did together. … They are part of a conversation, and they are as apt to ask questions as give answers. The photographs of California Exposures tell a history of California, but not in the conventional sense.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Opinion: Losing Carrizo

Water and the question of what constitutes its sustainable use is becoming an increasingly important subject everywhere with each passing year, but in few places is it more crucial than in the Carrizo Planning Area of California Valley

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: How Friant Water Authority recaptured its water destiny

The issue of subsidence on the Friant-Kern Canal, the attention it has garnered, and accompanying solutions are apparently void of the usual partisanship experienced in California’s water world as both state and Federal legislation has been introduced to authorize significant funding for the project.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Groundwater plans could cause up to 12,000 drinking water wells to run dry

A new Water Foundation report asserts groundwater sustainability agencies, governed mostly by members of agricultural water districts, are planning for water tables to decline to the point they could dry up between 4,000 and 12,000 domestic wells over the next 20 years.

Aquafornia news Sustainable Conservation

Blog: Balancing California’s water future

California’s groundwater – a critical resource in times of drought – is disappearing faster than we’re replenishing it. Our underground savings accounts are tapped, and we face a host of challenges like land subsidence, storage capacity loss and, most importantly, a dwindling water supply for California’s dry times.

Aquafornia news Capital & Main

Gavin Newsom hands out fracking permits to connected driller

On June 1, in the midst of the turmoil created by the coronavirus pandemic and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration quietly issued 12 fracking permits to Aera Energy, a joint venture owned by ExxonMobil and Shell. … The fracking permits are the latest example of California’s oil industry benefiting from regulatory or deregulatory action during the COVID-19 pandemic…

Aquafornia news Water Well Journal

New USGS geonarrative pinpoints domestic well locations in US

A new U.S. Geological Survey geonarrative illustrates where domestic (private) water wells are located and how many people are using them, based on the results of a 2019 USGS study. Nearly 40 million people in the United States rely on a domestic well for their drinking-water supply.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: People, agriculture, and water in California

Agriculture is California’s predominant use of managed water. Agriculture and water together are a foundation for California’s rural economy. Although most agriculture is economically-motivated and commercially-organized, the sociology and anthropology of agriculture and agricultural labor are basic for the well-being of millions of people, and the success and failure of rural, agricultural, and water and environmental policies.

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blog: Saving California’s crayfish

Living in cold streams fed by underground springs, the Shasta crayfish is California’s last native crayfish. Listed as endangered in 1988, the once prolific crayfish have declined over the past 20 years to the point where only about 500 individuals remain. But a project jointly developed by the Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Spring Rivers Ecological Sciences, and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company could change the fate of the crayfish.

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring to be protected in vault

After years of planning, McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring house replacement project will get underway soon as the Department of Water Resources has selected this project for the draft recommended funding list. The current wooden structure with corrugated roof will be replaced with a concrete vault to insure protection from erosion and habitat contamination.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Feds seek input on Friant-Kern Canal fixes

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the Friant-Kern Canal, is seeking public input on plans to repair a 33-mile stretch of canal between Lindsay and McFarland. This stretch of the canal has lost 60% of its original conveyance capacity due to subsidence—a sinking of the earth from groundwater extraction – which was accelerated during California’s historic drought from 2012-2017.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA won’t regulate rocket fuel toxin

EPA will not set drinking water limits on perchlorate, a rocket fuel ingredient linked to fetal and developmental brain damage. The agency in a final action today said it determined perchlorate does not meet criteria for regulation as a drinking water contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act…

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Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Under new groundwater plans, report estimates 12,000 domestic wells could run dry

Under current SGMA proposals, known as groundwater sustainability plans, the study estimates that as many as 12,000 domestic wells could run dry by the year 2040. Commissioned by the Water Foundation and put together by a group of drinking water advocacy organizations, the study estimates that as many as 127,000 residents could lose their water, and that the costs of repairing these wells could run up hundreds of millions of dollars.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Yettem-Seville tap into towns’ potential

Seville has clean water for the first time in five years and Yettem will be connected to joint system soon; county transfers governance to newly formed community services district

Aquafornia news Renewables Now

GreenFire Energy completes closed-loop geothermal energy pilot

GreenFire Energy Inc. on Wednesday said it has completed the world’s first field-scale demonstration of closed-loop geothermal energy generation in California. The pilot project utilised an inactive well at the Coso geothermal field in Coso, Inyo County. The GreenLoop technology showed promise for use in geothermal projects in hot, deep geothermal resources where conventional systems cannot be used.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Virus-ravaged Navajo say coal mines sapped their drinking water

Lack of running water has long plagued the Navajo Nation. About a third of homes don’t have it; in some towns, it’s 90 percent. While several factors contribute to that, many tribal members say Peabody Energy Corp., the largest U.S. coal producer, pulled so much water from the Navajo Aquifer before closing its last mining operation there last August that many wells and springs have run dry—at a time Covid-19 has hit the Nation harder than any state.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Nevada water order kills real estate project

Nevada restricted groundwater pumping Tuesday in an area north of Las Vegas, potentially killing a real estate project that threatens an endangered fish clinging to existence in a handful of spring-fed desert pools…

Announcement

Water Leaders Alumni: Stay In Touch With Each Other and The Foundation
Join LinkedIn alumni group for networking, program news and more!

Since 1997, more than 430 engineers, farmers, environmentalists, lawyers, and others have graduated from our William R. Gianelli Water Leaders program. We’ve developed a new alumni network webpage to help program participants connect and keep in touch.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Groundwater accountability sparks clash of Central Valley ag titans

Two giant Central Valley farming companies are slinging serious mud at one another over groundwater. And, in a rare break with tradition, they’re doing it in public. The fight has spilled out in public comments on the Tulare Lake Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan, which covers most of Kings County.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Groundwater Management Act was groundbreaking, but it needs an update

Rural communities are grappling with the challenge other parts of Arizona faced in the past: the need to conserve groundwater for future generations.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa County taps citizens for groundwater sustainability plan

Supervisors won’t be creating the plan on their own. The state requires them to consider various interests, such as well owners, public water systems, the environment and surface water users. Thirty-seven people applied for a 25-person groundwater advisory committee. That meant supervisors on Tuesday had to make choices.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Could the answer to groundwater resources come from high in the sky?

A new computational approach developed by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory offers a high-tech yet simple method to estimate available groundwater: It pairs high-resolution images derived by satellite with advanced computer modeling to estimate aquifer volume change from observed ground deformation.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion-PPIC: San Joaquin Valley’s big problem remains declining groundwater

In these extraordinary times, managing groundwater for long-term sustainability may not seem like a top priority. But in the San Joaquin Valley — where groundwater supplies have been declining for decades — excess pumping is a critical problem, with major implications for public health, jobs, the environment and local economies.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: The past, present and future of California’s groundwater

The passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014, granted the state official oversight authority of groundwater. … A new paper published in Society and Natural Resources, examines how the state’s ongoing involvement helped shape current policies by looking at the 120-year history of California’s role in groundwater management…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

State Water Board: Update on SGMA implementation

At the State Water Board’s meeting on June 2nd, Natalie Stork, unit chief for the Groundwater Management Program at the State Water Board, and Craig Altare, chief of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan Review section at the Department of Water Resources, updated the board members on how implementation is going so far.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Arizona housing growth tees up opportunity for water investors

Central Arizona has been booming — more people, more houses, more need for water. There’s also a long-term drought, and less water to buy from the Central Arizona Project canal system . It’s leading Phoenix exurbs to cast about, looking for new buckets. Other regions of the state say: don’t come here.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Central Valley water districts take aim at each other’s groundwater plans

There is no tougher playground than California’s water world. Just take a look at the zingers flying back and forth between water districts on one another’s groundwater sustainability plans posted on the Department of Water Resources’ website.

Aquafornia news Nevada Public Radio

Is this the end of a 30-year fight over a proposed water pipeline?

On May 21, the Southern Nevada Water Authority board of directors voted to indefinitely defer its groundwater development project, which opponents had dubbed the “water grab.”  The unanimous vote brought an end to more than three decades of acrimonious battle with the Great Basin Water Network.

Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

Something in the water: Pollutant may be more hazardous than previously thought

In a new study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Vanderbilt University and the University of California, Irvine, report on the mechanism that perchlorate uses to impact and damage normal functioning of the thyroid gland. The findings, they say, suggest that an acceptable safe concentration of perchlorate in drinking water is 10 times less than previously thought.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Small, Central Valley community finally gets clean water

For years — too many, residents say — Seville households teetered with unpredictable conditions. Using too much water in the day meant having none at night. One flush too many, and everyone relying on a single well in town was thrown into a dry spell. … The coming summer, however, promises to be a new one altogether for residents in Seville.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Business Journal

Cadiz finds new focus

The company’s long-term goal is still to complete a project to allow the transfer of up to 1.6 billion gallons of water a year from an aquifer under its land to six Southern California water agencies. But for the short-term, Cadiz is looking toward agricultural development on its 45,000 acres of land about 30 miles northeast of Joshua Tree National Park.

Aquafornia news Environmental Protection Online

Big corporations contribute to water shortages — how can they fix it?

As big corporations consume mass amounts of water, the smaller, local communities near the plants, factories and corporate offices have fewer resources. Water shortages then become prevalent as the corporation continues to use up the nearby sources. … In order to make a meaningful change for smaller communities, big corporations will need to work on alternatives.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

News release: University of California conducting groundwater resilience survey

The University of California, Irvine’s Water Program (Water UCI) has organized a survey of the various California water and groundwater agencies and stakeholders to get a snapshot of where these agencies and stakeholders stand in terms of water resilience, especially groundwater resilience.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA makes ‘contorted’ legal argument for permit rule

EPA’s final rule that curtails states’ authority over Clean Water Act permitting of pipelines, hydroelectric dams and other energy projects could run afoul of a 1994 Supreme Court ruling that originally granted states that oversight power.

Related article:

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR awards $65.8 million in grants to support local water resilience projects

The $65.8 million in grants will help fund projects such as groundwater replenishment and habitat restoration within the Colorado River, Lahontan, San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Ana Proposition 1 funding areas. More than $12 million of this amount targets projects that also help disadvantaged and underrepresented communities, including Tribal governments.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Living near oil and gas wells linked to low birthweight in babies

Researchers analysed the records of nearly 3 million births in California to women living within 6.2 miles (10km) of at least one oil or gas well between 2006 and 2015. … Active and inactive oil and gas sites create myriad environmental hazards including air and water pollutants, noise and excessive lighting, which have all been linked with poor health outcomes.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Our community will have a voice in proposed hydro-electric storage project near Joshua Tree

The proposed Eagle Mountain project went through nearly 10 years of regulatory review, mostly under the Obama administration, with deep investigations of potential impacts and subsequent requirements for some of the most stringent mitigations ever placed on a project. … The one hitch for us? We, the very communities who will be impacted by this project have no real voice.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

States, Democrats want federal help to clean up old oil wells

Fossil fuel companies going bankrupt in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic are expected to leave behind thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells, and some congressional Democrats are calling for a federal program to ensure they’re cleaned up. There are 56,000 known abandoned oil and gas wells in the U.S., leaking methane and other air and water pollutants, said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) …

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

In Nevada, investors eye underground water storage as a path to profits

Across the Southwest, investors are banking on water scarcity. They are buying up farms and ranches as states explore new programs that could make it easier to sell and transfer water. … Today a new type of investor has started eyeing water in the basin, less intent on building a new community than on supporting existing ones within one of the nation’s fastest growing states.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Seasonal maps provide snapshot of state groundwater levels

The Department of Water Resources produces groundwater level change maps which show groundwater levels in wells throughout the state. When looked at together, these reports give a statewide picture of groundwater conditions and how they change over time – through wet periods or droughts.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo County weighs fallowing program for Paso basin farmers

Paso Robles has an oversupply of wine grapes, according to growers and winemakers. That’s an existing problem that’s been exacerbated by COVID-19. … According to Jerry Lohr, owner of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and some others in the wine industry, there’s never been a better time to talk about creating a fallowing program for the North County region, which overlies the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: How California’s oil industry may help preserve agriculture in San Joaquin Valley

A study conducted by researchers at Duke University and RTI International found that reusing oil field produced water that has been mixed with surface water to irrigate crops in Kern County’s Cawelo Water District does not pose any major health risks.

Aquafornia news Water Well Journal

New report details managed aquifer recharge benefits

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Institute for Water Resources released a report on May 14 titled Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Water Security Through Resilience. … The report states USACE and its partners have engaged, or are considering engaging, in the use of MAR in a variety of settings and purposes throughout the United States.

Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

Trump administration seeks uranium mining near Lake Casitas and approves oil drilling in Carrizo Plain National Monument

The report could revive past attempts to mine uranium in the Los Padres National Forest in San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties, including a tract of land near Lake Casitas in the Ojai Valley, a source of drinking water for Carpinteria Valley Water District. Many of the report’s recommendations will require additional action before taking effect, such as changes to agency rules or regulations, or passage of legislation.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Feds say Tule groundwater could continue to sink

The gravity-fed Friant-Kern Canal that is key to survival for 15,000 east side San Joaquin Valley farms continues to be impacted by subsidence. Land near Porterville appears to be most worrisome where the land has sunk so much due to adjacent water pumping that the canal has lost 60% of its capacity. As of July 2018, it was estimated the canal is approximately 12 feet below the original constructed elevation.

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Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Budget cuts for SGMA funding could hurt farmers later

The governor’s administration in January pitched ambitious proposals to help fund implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and cushion its impacts on farmers and local communities. In the May Revision of the budget, however, all but one funding allocation from an earlier proposition have been withdrawn.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Southern Nevada Water Authority: Las Vegas water pipeline plan shelved

Citing conservation gains and a third straw to the bottom of Lake Mead, the Southern Nevada Water Authority on Thursday voted to shelve a proposal for a multi-billion pipeline that would have moved water from Northern and Eastern Nevada to Las Vegas. The vote means the pipeline staunchly opposed by rural communities, American Indian tribes and conservationists is dead – or at least going into a long, deep coma.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Ripon OKs groundwater JPA with SSJID, Escalon

The City of Ripon is now part of the South San Joaquin Groundwater Sustainable Agency. The Ripon City Council recently approved the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement, partnering with the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and City of Escalon.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: COVID-19 pandemic and need for clean water at rural homes

As the world continues to grapple with the most devastating public health crises in modern history, the San Joaquin Valley has been hit particularly hard, resulting in mass disarray. Small rural regions and underserved communities are now experiencing threefold the challenges that existed prior to the pandemic.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Water authority gives up 30-year proposal to pump groundwater to Las Vegas

The Southern Nevada Water Authority voted Thursday to withdraw all pending groundwater importation applications, return a right-of-way associated with groundwater importation plans to the Bureau of Land Management and take other actions to move the multibillion-dollar groundwater development project — sometimes referred to as the water pipeline project — into “indefinite deferred status.”

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Beacon

Mendocino City Community Services District adopts groundwater ordinance, contingency plan

The Mendocino City Community Services District Board held a special meeting May 18 to vote on their groundwater extraction permit and water shortage contingency plan ordinances.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Tiny bugs can clean valley drinking water but at what price?

If you have a small, drinking water system in the Central Valley that’s full of nitrates, and there are plenty, a company has some bugs to sell you. Specifically, a company called Microvi is looking for a demonstration project in the valley to show that its “biological denitrification” process is feasible for small systems.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Thursday Top of the Scroll: PFAS limits in drinking water to take more than a year, EPA says

The EPA won’t be able to set drinking water limits for two PFAS chemicals in the next year, agency administrator Andrew Wheeler told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Opinion: California should lead the nation in controlling agricultural pollution

Agricultural runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the nation’s waterways….In California alone, more than a quarter million residents in largely agricultural areas are served by water systems with degraded groundwater quality.

Announcement

Join Online Groundwater Short Course Starting May 21st
See our events calendar for details & register today!

An online short course starting Thursday will provide registrants the opportunity to learn more about how groundwater is monitored, assessed and sustainably managed.

The class, offered by UC Davis and several other organizations in cooperation with the Water Education Foundation, will be held May 21 and 28, June 4, 18, and 25 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Will groundwater sustainability plans end the problem of dry drinking water wells?

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where excess pumping is a major challenge.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

Settlements reached in lawsuits alleging manufacturer contaminated groundwater in El Cajon

The lawsuits concern the alleged contamination via manufacturing process materials stored by Ametek, which manufactured aircraft engine parts for more than 20 years at 790 Greenfield Drive in El Cajon. Plaintiffs allege the materials contaminated groundwater, soil vapor and indoor air at nearby properties.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Water resources management: Developing a water budget

A water budget is an accounting of the rates of the inflows, outflows, and changes in water storage in a specific area; however, as simple as that might sound, developing an accurate water budget can be a difficult and challenging endeavor. To address this problem, the Department of Water Resources has developed a water budget handbook…

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR helps locals by installing ‘eyes underground’

Unlike water production wells, monitoring wells do not remove groundwater, but instead use one or more small diameter pipes placed anywhere from 50 feet to 2,000 feet deep. The pipes house electronic equipment that continuously measures groundwater level information. Groundwater samples can also be manually collected from these wells to check for water quality.

Aquafornia news UC Riverside

Blog: Shrub encroachment on grasslands can increase groundwater recharge

A new study led by Adam Schreiner-McGraw, a postdoctoral hydrology researcher at University of California, Riverside, modeled shrub encroachment on a sloping landscape and reached a startling conclusion: Shrub encroachment on slopes can increase the amount of water that goes into groundwater storage. The effect of shrubs is so powerful that it even counterbalances the lower annual rainfall amounts expected during climate change.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Why I’m visiting the California Capitol to testify on groundwater

My colleagues and I worked with Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), to craft AB 2642, which will create the Multibenefit Land Conversion Incentive Program… This new program will provide incentive payments to farmers and landowners who voluntarily repurpose their agricultural land to other less water-intensive uses for a minimum of 10 years.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Sinking lands, damaged infrastructure: Will better groundwater management end subsidence?

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where excess pumping is a major challenge.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Groundwater: The charge to recharge needs to be data driven

Where, when, how much and how fast water can best be recharged into the Central Valley’s severely depleted aquifers has become a critical question. A new tool aims to help answer those questions at the field-by-field level or up to an entire county.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Small water systems across Monterey County are bracing for the inevitable next drought

In March, the California Department of Water Resources released a nearly completed draft report on the risk of water shortage in rural areas and the drought vulnerability of small systems. … Across the state, Monterey County is among the most vulnerable counties, with one of the largest numbers of highly impacted rural communities, according to the report. Also, the county’s small water systems are on average the 13th most vulnerable out of those of 58 counties.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

Lomita receives grant to remove chemical from drinking water

A grant of up to $2 million will allow Lomita to install a filtration system that removes a potentially carcinogenic chemical from its drinking water, allowing the community to resume using groundwater instead of more expensive imported supplies. The small city had taken its sole well offline last year and drained its 5 million gallon reservoir after the levels of benzene discovered in its groundwater exceeded state drinking water standards.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Protesters ‘SLAPPback’ as water fight boils over

Four years ago, nine activists in the small town of Weed, Calif., were railing against an Oregon timber company threatening the city’s water supply. … Now, the Weed 9 are going one step further. Two weeks ago, they filed a “SLAPPback” lawsuit against the attorneys who represented the timber company. They are seeking damages.

Aquafornia news Coachella Valley Water District

Blog: Reports show increasing groundwater levels in the Coachella Valley

A new article by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) calls efforts to mitigate land subsidence in the Coachella Valley “an emerging success story,” a finding that is echoed by analysis completed by local water agencies.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: How reliable are Groundwater Sustainability Plans?

In principle, evaluating the adequacy of these plans to achieve sustainability should also be simple: Does the anticipated reduction in pumping plus increase in recharge equal or exceed the basin’s long-term rate of overdraft? In practice, however, it’s not so simple.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: The tale of two pipelines for desert cities

Nevadans and Utahns won a major economic and environmental victory in mid-April that will help protect air quality along the Wasatch Front and the Great Basin’s fragile water supply –– including Great Salt Lake.

Aquafornia news U.S. Department of Agriculture

Blog; The Fox Canyon water market: A market-based tool for groundwater conservation goes live

Following passage of SGMA, The Nature Conservancy received a $1.8 million Conservation Innovation Grant from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop the Fox Canyon Water Market. TNC, supported by project partners Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency and California Lutheran University, sought to establish a market-driven approach to reduce groundwater pumping.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Crops grown with oilfield water OK’d by water quality board

The recycled oilfield water, blended with regular irrigation water, was tested for more than 140 chemical compounds. And 13 different crops — some grown with the oilfield water, some not —showed no uptake of potentially hazardous chemicals from oil production methods.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California appeals court revives water pollution lawsuit

A California appellate court has revived a lawsuit Wednesday from the city of Riverside who claim Black & Decker and several other companies contaminated the local drinking water with chemicals used to make explosive cartridges, flares and rocket fuel.

Aquafornia news KCET

Farmers hijack community water access despite groundwater act, activists say

These activists say farmers unfairly dominated groundwater sustainability meetings and ultimately steered the planning process in their favor. If the plans are accepted and implemented, they warn, farmers will keep pumping water at unsustainable rates. “All the plans we’ve looked at are going to cause wells to go dry,” said Amanda Monaco, the water policy coordinator for the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability…

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Fair water

Fairness – or at least the perception of fairness – could play a determining role in the future of California’s groundwater, according to new research. The study, published in Society and Natural Resources, evaluated 137 surveys of Yolo County farmers to gauge their perceptions of fairness for groundwater allocation strategies and dispute resolution options.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Supreme Court ruling finds old, new middle ground on Clean Water Act’s application to groundwater

The Court decision introduces the concept of a “functional equivalent of a direct discharge” as a guideline for when a point source discharge must obtain a permit. It cites the case of an injection well receiving pollutant discharge that then travels a few feet through groundwater into navigable waters as a clear case of “functional equivalent” to direct discharge.

Aquafornia news Mount Shasta Herald

County once again faces severe drought

As Siskiyou County slips back into severe drought, members of Siskiyou County’s Groundwater Advisory Committees met last week to continue drafting groundwater management plans as conservation groups, farmers and other special interest groups brace for another dry summer.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Supreme Court: Kavanaugh takes cues from Scalia in groundwater ruling

Justice Brett Kavanaugh was one of six justices who said permits are required if the pollution at issue amounted to the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge (Greenwire, April 23). But instead of just signing onto the majority opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer, Kavanaugh penned his own concurrence saying he agreed with the majority opinion “in full.”

Related article:

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Measuring groundwater from 300 miles above

Although it isn’t perceptible to the human eye, changes in water mass around the world cause small fluctuations in Earth’s gravity field. This includes water in underground aquifers, which couldn’t be remotely monitored before NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites.

Aquafornia news The Atascadero News

Water company finds PFAS in five Atascadero wells

In February 2020, the Water Board adopted new, lower Response Levels for PFOA and PFOS of 10 ppt and 40 ppt, respectively. Four of wells previously sampled under the Water Board’s order now had had PFOA levels above this newly adopted Response Level of 10 ppt. Atascadero Mutual Water Company immediately took these wells out of service.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona farmers ‘in limbo’ despite $10 million federal pledge

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved $10 million to help pay for water projects in the farmlands of central Arizona, where growers are bracing for their supply of Colorado River water to be shut off. But those funds, conditionally awarded this month by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, are still subject to negotiations between federal and state officials.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Western Groundwater Congress: Water resources management in the Pajaro Valley Basin

The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency has been working toward sustainable management of the Pajaro Valley’s water resources. At the 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, General Manager Brian Lockwood discussed the projects and programs the Agency is implementing as they work towards achieving groundwater sustainability.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Clean Water Act covers groundwater discharges, Supreme Court rules

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Clean Water Act applies to some pollutants that reach the sea and other protected waters indirectly through groundwater. The case, County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, No. 18-260, concerned a wastewater treatment plant on Maui, Hawaii, that used injection wells to dispose of some four million gallons of treated sewage each day…

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Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR awards $25.4 million in grants to support local water supply projects

The funding will support projects such as groundwater recharge and stormwater management located near Fresno and Bakersfield, as well as California’s North Coast. More than half of the funding will be awarded for projects that help disadvantaged and underrepresented communities, including Tribal Governments.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California’s Owens Valley tapped for geothermal energy leasing

Geothermal leasing on previously protected federal lands in California’s Owens Valley will move ahead, despite protests from local water districts and environmental groups.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Water availability for San Joaquin Valley farms: A balancing act

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where excess pumping is a major challenge.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The coming battles over Monterey Peninsula water will be fought on Zoom

From the safety of their coronavirus shelters, the water warriors of the Monterey Peninsula carry on the fight, and so can you. … The environmental merits of removing the local water system from private ownership and placing it under the control of a government agency will be discussed in a virtual public scoping meeting on April 21 at 5pm, via Zoom video conference. 

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Water authority shelves controversial Las Vegas pipeline project

The Southern Nevada Water Authority is ending a decades-long effort to build a controversial 300-mile pipeline to pump rural groundwater from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas. On Thursday afternoon, the water authority confirmed in a statement that it would not appeal a recent court ruling that denied the agency a portion of its water rights.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Western Groundwater Congress: Utilizing excess winter stormwater flows for groundwater recharge

Kristin Sicke is Assistant General Manager for Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, which manages water supplies for 200,000 acres in western Yolo County, which encompasses Woodland, Davis, and the surrounding area. In this presentation from the 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Ms. Sicke describes the district’s efforts to use winter stormwater flows for groundwater recharge in the Yolo subbasin.

Aquafornia news Science

Droughts exposed California’s thirst for groundwater. Now, the state hopes to refill its aquifers

Groundwater science is taking on a new urgency as California and other regions around the world face growing threats from drought—and are increasingly drilling wells to make up for missing rain and snow. Globally, aquifers are “highly stressed” in 17 countries that hold one-quarter of the world’s population… Water and food supplies for billions of people are under threat. California is a case study in the challenges of protecting those resources.

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Heart of Santa Cruz: Updates from the State of the San Lorenzo Symposium

Since this year marked the first since 1862 that not a single drop of rain fell in Santa Cruz County during the month of February, efforts to sustainably manage water were at the forefront of the conversation. The symposium kicked off with an introduction from County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, who discussed the ongoing work to develop sustainable groundwater management plans…

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Tribes protest Nevada mine expansion, groundwater pumping plan

Opponents of the mine expansion in Elko County are worried about phase two of the Long Canyon Mine near Wells that includes a dewatering plan that would pump billions of gallons of water annually from an aquifer deep below the Pequop Range and Goshute Valley.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Helping dairy operators protect groundwater

Over the last 20 years, UC research has shown that dairies in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys are potentially major contributors of nitrate and salts in groundwater. To maintain the quality of this irreplaceable natural resource, the California Water Resources Control Board has ramped up regulations to ensure that diary manure and wastewater application isn’t contaminating the aquifer.

Aquafornia news Western Water

With sustainability plans filed, groundwater agencies now must figure out how to pay for them

Local agencies in the most depleted groundwater basins in California spent months putting together plans to show how they will achieve balance in about 20 years. Now, after submitting those plans to the state in January, groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) must figure how to pay for them.

Aquafornia news Vacaville Reporter

Groundwater education continues for eastern Solano schools

In 2018, a nonprofit freshwater conservation and restoration organization known as The Freshwater Trust contracted with the Solano Resource Conservation District to create hands-on, regionally specific groundwater education lessons to schools located within the Solano County sub-basin. The success of these educational programs has resulted in a renewed partnership between the two organizations…

With Sustainability Plans Filed, Groundwater Agencies Now Must Figure Out How To Pay For Them
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: California's Prop. 218 taxpayer law and local politics could complicate efforts to finance groundwater improvement projects

A groundwater monitoring well in Colusa County, north of Sacramento. The bill is coming due, literally, to protect and restore groundwater in California.

Local agencies in the most depleted groundwater basins in California spent months putting together plans to show how they will achieve balance in about 20 years.

Aquafornia news Karma

Data centers buzz as COVID-19 bolsters network use, stressing water supplies where they’re tightest

While the coronavirus is giving the planet’s environment a respite from pollution, not all resources are getting a break. Groundwater supplies, particularly in drier parts of the U.S., are being tapped more than ever by the enormous data centers run by Microsoft, Google and other tech giants, which require vast quantities of water for cooling and power generation.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

40 atmospheric rivers have hit West Coast since October, but California had just 1 strong one and it’s paying the price

More than three dozen atmospheric rivers made landfall on the West Coast from fall through early spring, but a lack of strong events in California led to the development of drought conditions in parts of the state.

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Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Lathrop spending $805K in bid to salvage water well

The City of Lathrop built a well in 2003 near what is now River Islands to serve future development in the Mossdale and River Islands areas. But it has yet to function as a regular and contributing part of the city’s water system – mired by water quality issues and problems with the construction of the original well itself.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Eric Averett: Water allocation strategies in the context of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Eric Averett is General Manager with the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District, which is one of several water districts within Kern County. … In this presentation from the Western Groundwater Congress, Mr. Averett discusses how his district and Kern County have been grappling with how to establish groundwater pumping allocations.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation issues record of decision on long-term water transfer program

The water transfers could occur on an annual basis sending water from willing sellers north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to water users south of the Delta and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Based on annual approvals, the transfers could occur through 2024. In addition, the transfers could occur by various methods, including groundwater substitution, cropland idling, reservoir releases and conservation.

Aquafornia news KQED News

After 9-month pause, California issuing fracking permits again

State oil and gas regulators have granted permits for hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling technique known as fracking, for the first time since last summer. The California Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM, last week issued permits to Aera Energy, a joint venture of Shell and ExxonMobil, for “well stimulation” work in two Kern County oil fields.

Aquafornia news Military Times

Here’s the latest count of suspected bases with toxic “forever chemicals” in the water

Cancer-linked per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively known as PFAS, have been confirmed at 328 sites, according to Pentagon data analyzed by Environmental Working Group, and are suspected on about 350 more Defense Department installations and sites.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: What’s the plan to end groundwater overdraft in the San Joaquin Valley?

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region. … This post examines how the plans propose to end overdraft.

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Aquafornia news Fort Bragg Advocate-News

Groundwater management hearings set for late April

Registered voters who live in Mendocino have the opportunity and responsibility to decide the direction of groundwater management in Mendocino at two upcoming Mendocino City Community Services District Public Hearings scheduled for April 16 and 27.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Fracking in California gets green light after 9-month pause; Aera Energy receives permits

California regulators on Friday issued fracking permits for the first time in nine months, saying federal scientists had given clearance for 24 permits to Aera Energy for oil well stimulation in Kern County. … Last July, Gov. Gavin Newsom fired the state’s oil and gas supervisor a day after The Desert Sun reported that the number of fracking permits issued during his first six months in office had doubled compared to the same period under his predecessor…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Western Groundwater Congress: Quantifying surface water depletion from groundwater pumping

At the 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Gilbert Barth, PhD, provided quantitative assessments of groundwater resources to address questions associated with water planning, and specializes in model development and calibration with a focus on quantifying changes between surface water and groundwater systems. He’s developed and applied models throughout the Western US for regional, interstate, and international deliberations.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: California groundwater wells receive grades for improvement and degradation

In California, groundwater is a major source for drinking and other uses. Identifying where groundwater quality is getting better or worse is essential for managing groundwater resources. A new study conducted by a team from the California Water Science Center, led by Research Hydrologist Bryant Jurgens, assessed areas of improving and degrading groundwater-quality by using a new metric for scoring.

Aquafornia news High Country News

As temperatures rise, Arizona sinks

Arizona is sinking. The combination of groundwater pumping and warmer temperatures is shrinking aquifers and lowering water tables. … Today, where subsidence is worst, groundwater pumping isn’t even monitored, and big agricultural and anti-regulatory ideologues try to stymie any efforts to keep tabs on how much water is being pumped.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA’s relaxed enforcement amid virus draws mixed state reaction

State regulators are giving mixed responses to the EPA’s relaxed enforcement on a range of environmental obligations by facilities affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Environmental Protection Agency said this week it wouldn’t seek penalties for violations covered by the emergency policy. … The California Environmental Protection Agency said its enforcement authority “remains intact” in spite of the EPA memo.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves metering standards, requirements

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority signed off on an ordinance and related resolution officially requiring all major pumpers needing metering on all groundwater extraction facilities and pumps during a board meeting on Thursday.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Depletion of interconnected surface waters: Not that simple

Sierra Ryan is a water resources planner with the County of Santa Cruz. In this presentation from the Groundwater Resources Association‘s 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Ms. Ryan tells the story of how the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency balanced the various perspectives, authorities, and interpretations of the DWR regulations in writing the portion of their Groundwater Sustainability Plan that pertained to the depletion of interconnected surface water.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: District sues to stop salty water exchange

The James Irrigation District in western Fresno County has sued the Westlands Water District over its plan to let farmers pump salty groundwater into the Mendota Pool in exchange for water from the San Luis Reservoir.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Arizona: Groundwater aquifers can expect a boost from March rains

March rain has left Salt River Project reservoirs as full as they’ve been in a decade. The utility is discharging water to make room for the runoff, providing a boost to the underlying aquifers. The utility says the Salt and Verde river systems are at a combined 94% of capacity, almost 20 points higher than last year.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

SGMA to dry up one-fifth of irrigated San Joaquin Valley farmland

The report by David Sunding and David Roland-Holst, professors at University of California, Berkeley, estimates that one-fifth of cultivated farmland in the San Joaquin Valley will be permanently lost as groundwater plans take hold and water supplies are severely restricted.

Aquafornia news Daily Californian

Addressing arsenic problems in rural California

Arsenic is one of the most toxic elements in the Earth’s crust. It is widely distributed, and under certain geochemical conditions, it dissolves into groundwater, which then gets pumped out for human use. Arsenic presents the highest cancer risk of any regulated carcinogens among drinking water contaminants when the risk from each is ranked at its maximum allowable concentration.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

DWR report: Groundwater levels continue to rebound from last drought

The changes in groundwater levels in this report illustrate how groundwater changes over time based on hydrologic conditions. A one-year comparison of groundwater levels provides information about the short-term effects of a single wet or dry year, while a multi-year comparison of groundwater levels provides information about trends in groundwater storage. Groundwater is an important component of water budgets throughout the state …

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Groups bring suit over secret approval process for PFAS chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency has allowed hundreds of new PFAS chemicals to enter commerce under the Toxic Substances Control Act since 2006, continuing to do so in recent years even as new research about the dangers of PFAS emerges.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

David Orth gives his observations on how SGMA implementation is playing out in the San Joaquin Valley

David Orth is the principal of New Current Water and Land, which offers strategic planning, program implementation, and water resource development services. At the California Irrigation Institute’s 2020 Annual Conference, he gave his observations having watched Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) form and develop their Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) since the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Infrastructure: What’s on tap for California

At the 2020 Kern County Water Summit, California Water Commission Chair Armando Quintero spoke about the role of the commission, gave an update on the Water Storage Investment Program and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and spoke of their new role defined in the water resiliency portfolio.

Aquafornia news San Pedro Valley News-Sun

Former Arizona governor apologizes for failing rural counties on groundwater issues

When county Board of Supervisor member Peggy Judd asked former Gov. Bruce Babbitt to share his thoughts on rural counties taking on responsibilities relating to groundwater management, he responded, “I couldn’t say no.”

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Significant progress being made in implementing the state’s groundwater law

I remember being surprised when attending a local Groundwater Sustainability Agency meeting and I first saw a schematic that visually depicted the various levels of groundwater underneath one of the Central Valley’s numerous subbasins.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Central Valley groundwater markets emerging under SGMA

Central Valley farmers may soon have another crop to sell along with almonds, tomatoes and peppers — the groundwater beneath their land. Proposed groundwater markets have popped up in just about every groundwater sustainability plan filed with the state Jan. 31.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Military sees surge in sites with ‘forever chemical’ contamination

The military now has at least 651 sites that have been contaminated with cancer-linked “forever chemicals,” a more than 50 percent jump from its last tally. The information was released Friday in a report from the Department of Defense (DOD), part of a task force designed to help the military remove a class of chemicals known as PFAS from the water supply near numerous military bases.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How water managers can build recharge basins to boost resilience for farmers and birds alike

Recharge basins are becoming increasingly popular in overdrafted regions in California, where water managers are seeking solutions to balance groundwater supply and demand to comply with the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Aquafornia news KHTS Radio

Santa Clarita Valley Water closing 13 additional wells to comply with new PFAS rules

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) has announced that they are set to voluntarily shut down 13 additional wells in compliance with new state PFAS regulations, officials said Friday. The levels of PFAS found are above the state-mandated response level, according to Kathie Martin, public information officer for Santa Clarita Valley Water.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Senate Democrats unveil $20B bill to battle ‘forever chemical’ contamination

A new bill from Senate Democrats would roll out $20 billion in funding to remove cancer-linked “forever chemicals” from water as it contaminates supplies across the country.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Groundwater management is a team effort at DWR

Besides reviewing and making final determinations on submitted plans that show how local agencies will manage their groundwater basins for long-term sustainability, DWR staff provide essential resources to local water agencies to help them better understand and manage their local basins. … Below are some examples of DWR staff contributions to groundwater management…

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona Legislature should act on rural groundwater, former Gov. Bruce Babbitt says

Former Gov. Bruce Babbitt is speaking out about widespread problems of excessive groundwater pumping in rural areas of Arizona, saying the state Legislature should give counties and communities the power to protect their rapidly declining aquifers. Babbitt appealed for action during a visit this week to the Willcox area, where heavy pumping for farms has led to falling water tables and left a growing number of families with dry wells.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Lithium startup backed by Bill Gates targets Salton Sea

On Monday, Lilac Solutions and the Australian company Controlled Thermal Resources announced they’re partnering to develop a lithium-extraction facility at the Salton Sea. The Australian firm is trying to build the area’s first new geothermal power plant in a decade, a project that would be far more lucrative if the super-heated underground fluid could produce lithium in addition to electricity.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

SGMA implementation: Borrego Valley’s strategy for a negotiated resolution under SGMA

Groundwater is the sole source of water supply for the valley; there isn’t any surface water or imported water available. After decades of excessive pumping, the Borrego Groundwater Basin is considered critically overdrafted and dramatic reductions in pumping – up to 70% by the latest estimate – will be needed to reach sustainability.

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blog: From “extinct” to “prolific”

“’Listen to the land’ is my mantra,” said Susan Sorrells, a 4th generation resident and owner of Shoshone, California. … Integrating nature with community became a part of Sorrells’ and her husband Robby Haines’ vision for stewarding the land. As a gateway to Death Valley National Park, ecotourism became their economic engine.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: A reality check on groundwater overdraft in the San Joaquin Valley

This year marks a new phase in California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). At the end of January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their first groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region. … This post addresses key questions about groundwater budgets.

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